Spoken by more than 4oo million people around the world, Arabic is 5th most spoken language worldwide, and is an official language in 26 countries, including Egypt, Morocco, and Lebanon.
It holds great importance in Islam, and it is one of the most important languages to learn in the world today.
And yet adults often struggle to learn a foreign language later in life.
That's why Arabic learning is important at a young age!
Whether or not a child belongs to a family with Arab heritage, parents can make the choice to teach their children Arabic themselves, or entrust the task to a native speaker language specialist who can use an array of educational resources.
At home, children can easily learn basic Arabic as well as Arab culture, so they can travel to the Middle East and easily integrate into the Arab world.
We're here to help you learn how to teach Arabic to young students!
Arabic for Children: At What Age Can My Child Start?
At only seven years old, is a child too young to start learning the Arabic language? What about writing Arabic script?
The answer is a definitive no!
It's all a question of educational know-how. Arabic for kids shouldn't be about adding additional pressure to a child still struggling to master their native language; on the contrary, parents need to let their children progress at their own pace.
To make things go smoothly, parents can use fun resources to teach the language and culture of the Arab countries.
There is an added bonus that many of them free, allowing young students to get a good first impression of Arabic and enhance their language learning.
According to educational experts, the ideal age to start learning a second language could be before the age of 7. It's of course still possible to learn Arabic after this, but true bilingualism can only be achieved if the child accepts Arabic as a second mother tongue.
By learning the basics of the Arabic language, and even Arabic culture, at a younger age, children won't need to resort to thinking in terms of translating back and forth from English to Arabic, since the two languages will be assimilated distinctly. This means that there will be no confusion between Arabic words and Arabic phrases and their English counterparts.
Children who learn the basics of Arabic at an older age will find that Arabic language learning is more difficult. Although we often think that it's better for children to learn a second language when they are teenagers, in reality they'll never reach the same level of proficiency as a student who starts learning Arabic at a younger age.
It's better to start learning a foreign language as soon as possible!
Arabic Learning for Kids: Watch Cartoons
Due to the visual stimulus and fun tone of cartoons, a young learner can learn to speak Arabic without even realizing it.
Arabic-language cartoons are available free on online video platforms, such as Youtube and Dailymotion. Parents can even download free videos from educational websites so their children can watch Arabic cartoons without an internet connection.
Some cartoons available in Arabic are:
- Al Akhawater Sin
- Al Waladou Salih
- Toyor Baby
- Toyour el Djana
- Al namima
Additionally, because some things transcend cultures, famous international cartoons like Pokemon can also be found in Arabic, offering even more fun ways for children to get immersed in the language.
Parents with cable service can take advantage of the increasing number of foreign language programming on dedicated channels. The Modern Standard Arabic (Msa) offerings often include cartoons, meaning that children can learn to pronounce a version of Arabic which is recognised across the Arab world, unlike a country specific dialect such as Lebanese, Saudi Arabian, or Egyptian Arabic.
For Muslim families, they can also learn to pray in Arabic starting at a young age.
Using Nursery Rhymes to Learn Arabic for Children
Originating in Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon, children's nursery rhymes in Arabic help youngsters learn the basics of Arabic in only a few months. What's best is for children to hear these nursery rhymes regularly; in just a short amount of time, children will know the words by heart and learn the Arabic vocabulary without even noticing.
The most popular Arabic nursery rhymes are:
- Arsomo Baba
- Endi Baba Wa
- Doha ya Doha
- Hamama Nodi Nodi
- Barboori Rye Harye A
- Mama Zamanha Gaya
- Nini ya Moumou
To get your hands on these Moroccon, Tunisian, or even Algerian nursery rhymes in Arabic, teachers can buy educational CDs available in online retail stores or traditional record shops, usually in the international music section.
Mamalisa.com also offers some Arabic language nursery rhymes in digital audio and video formats to help learn the words more easily.
Arabic Language Games for Children
Thanks to the ever-increasing advances of technology, it's now even easier to learn to speak Arabic online, for free!
To become bilingual, or speak Arabic fluently, children can spend their playtime on activities that enable them to develop language skills as they have fun.
Parents can look for:
- Free computer, tablet, and smartphone apps: Arabic for children, the Arabic Alphabet for Children, History for children in Arabic, Learn the Salat and Woudou, etc.
- Online Arabic course for children: Dinolingo, Hello-world, earabiclearning, Madinhaarabic, etc.
- Board games for children: Sahaba, Deen Box, Hâfizh Al Qur'ân, Amina, Master Deen, etc.
There are tons of tools to get started with the Arabic alphabet, for example. The possibilities are endless.
These fun resources allow parents to shape learning the Arabic language in a beneficial but entertaining way: certain activities, like board games, can be played with friends or the whole family. The little ones won't feel the pressures of learning and will be more inclined to perfect their Arabic.
These fun games allow learners to work on all of the basic rules surrounding Arabic, such as:
- Arabic vocabulary
- Arabic verb conjugation
- Arabic numbers
- Arabic pronouns
- Arabic grammar
- Arabic writing
- Arabic speaking
- Arabic accents
- Arabic calligraphy
- Arabic phrases
Fun games, more than anything else, make for a great introduction to the Arabic language for children.
Although these games can't replace an actual Arabic course given by professional teachers, they offer young students a way to practice beyond their Arabic lessons.
And what's more, the educational games facilitate studying between lessons without cramming!
During school vacations, at night, or on the weekends, why not make a family activity of going over the fundamentals of Arabic?
Apps for Kids
BravoLol is a fun flashcard-based system that allows you or your child to focus on words that you want to discover. You can create your own flashcards (which is good if you want to help your child learn about a specific topic), or use the ones already created in the app. It uses commonly used phrases to help you hit the ground running in your Arabic language learning, although this app isn't necessarily for kids only.
Duolingo does not yet give you access to learn Arabic but they are currently creating the content, and it's sure to be great as the app is colourful and inviting! Duolingo teaches you with a game like content base, which is completely free, personalised to you and they offer rewards to keep you motivated. Duolingo is one of the best language learning apps and I have no doubt that their online arabic course will be exceptional once completed.
With DinoLingo, children can watch Arabic lessons designed for kids and start learning right away thanks to animated cartoons, gentle repetitions and a few fun surprises along the way!
There are also flashcards, stories, games, songs and audiobooks to make use of in the DinoLingo directory, all of which will certainly enhance their learning experience ad create an all-round learning environment (as opposed to them just sitting down in a class setting and reading lessons). Songs and audio stories are the kinds of resources that you as adults can put on to listen to in the background and really immerse your children in language learning!
Arabic for Beginners
These days, education is evolving with everything else and Arabic lessons have changed as well: there's no longer any need to take lessons in an academic environment, because the courses can come to you!
To help your children learn Modern Standard Arabic (Literary Arabic), you have several options:
- Arabic classes at school: depending on where you live, there might be a school offering free Arabic lessons to children. It's more likely that you'll need to send your student to an international school where more options for foreign languages classes exist, but there might be scholarships or other options. Explore your town!
- Arabic courses at a language school: just like in an academic setting, but dedicated exclusively to foreign languages, and usually held during non-working hours. Not all offer classes to young children, but you can always ask. These classes aren't cheap, and the education is done in a group setting, but they are more intensive than the school classes.
- Private Arabic lessons for children: in this scenario the teacher comes to your home to teach your child. The prices vary by area, goals, and level. Parents can choose particular focus areas and find teachers who specialize in younger children, those who know just how to keep children engaged.
If you want to try an hour with a private Arabic teacher to see if you think it will work for your child, more than 92% of our teachers offer their first hour free!
It's also possible to take private Arabic lessons online, with a webcam. Parents can assist with the lessons and follow their children's progress.
This educational tool enables parents to find a native Arabic speaker, someone truly knowledgeable about Arab culture.
At the same time, parents can facilitate supplementary exercises for their children between private lessons, to really make the most of their increasing knowledge of the Arabic language.
How to Support your Child Learning Arabic
1. Be positive and encouraging
It's important for you to be on board with your child's learning, and so you should be as positive as they are when it comes to acquiring the language, If it's not a language you know, why not also embark on the journey so you can learn new things together? Regardless of whether you are heavily involved in the teaching or learning process, you should be as encouraging as possible because your child will surely want your approval for this big feat.
What's more, kids do as they see, not as they're taught so if they see you working hard on something (even if it is work related or a separate study programme that you are working on at home) then they will also take on this eagerness to be like you and learn a new skill.
2. Buy child-friendly resources
Although you can support them in other ways, sometimes resources are the fastest way to get a child learning. While some resources are free, you may need to pay out for a few additional ones to make that learning journey a little bit more fun and so you are not always relying on digital resources. You could look out for colourful books, or try to find puzzles in Arabic for beginners.
3. Use audio resources around the house as part of your daily routine
One of the most useful things you can do, and also the most effective, is to put on Arabic radio, podcasts or stories whilst you are at home. You don't even need to be listening to them all the time - just having them on in the background can still allow your child to absorb some information whether it be certain words they hear, pronunciation or just the way of speaking including speed and intonations.
So next time you are all sat down for breakfast or you are doing the ironing while your kids draw, think about putting some audio resources on!
4. Read a story in that language
Bedtime is a good time to focus on things that have been learned during the day, but it's also important to give your child a rest of they have worked hard. If your child is up to it, you could read a short story in Arabic or you could listen to an audiobook together.
If Arabic isn't one of your languages, then it might be fun for your child to read a book to you and for them to take on the role as the teacher. They will feel so proud of themselves!
5. Celebrate success
No matter how little the victory, you should make sure you celebrate every success in language acquisition. Each time your child remembers a word in Arabic or repeats a word perfectly, give them lots of praise so that they will get excited about learning and will feel rewarded for even the smallest of gains. This will, in turn, encourage them to aim for those bigger hurdles!
As you can see, there is so much that you need to know about Arabic. So, why not turn to qualified teacher whom you know can help your child progress with the Arabic language with an Arabic course London, or anywhere else in the UK.